We Are SuperHuman | 5 Shocking Myths Stock Imagery Perpetuates About Woman In Business
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5 Shocking Myths Stock Imagery Perpetuates About Woman In Business

21 Aug 2017, Posted by admin in Interviews

If you have searched for a stock photos of a woman in business only to find silly, stereotypical photos that left you exasperated and a bit angry, you know the frustration that comes with finding out that sexism is found in nearly every part of the web-even in the corner offices set up by photographers to represent “leadership”.

A couple of years ago Getty and the Lean-In foundation quite rightly decided stock photography images of women were clichéd at their best, and inaccurate and damaging at their worst. Nowhere were these images more nonsensical than the shots of women in business. The re-image project meant that the dominatrix career women gamely sporting boxing gloves and high heels would be banished, for top-shelf pleasure only, forever. This was progress for sure, but not every stock image provider has got it quite right.

In a recent search for images of businesswomen to showcase on Superhuman gave me a somewhat distorted view of the world.  Today, I would like to share a few messages that were blasted on the screen.

Women retire at 40

After age 40, possibly even 30 as it is so hard to tell these days, women retire on mass. Like the plot of leftovers they sinisterly disappear. Happily, if you ferret abou, you will find them walking-in age appropriate attire-on beaches or hanging out with old grey square jawed men. P&O Fjordland cruises must be bursting at the seams.


You have no business in business unless you are suited and booted.

It has been written that business or “career” women all wear suits. Business women wear Good Wife true blue corporate get ups to show that they mean business, and they would rather die than wear flats. Flats are for interns and architects.  Business women must look sexy to be powerful. The boxing gloves are gone, but the slightly sexed up business fembot is alive and kicking (in four inch plus stilettos).


Women only work in creative fields.

Do a search for a female CEO and then one for a male and you will find a drastic change in imagery. Look up women in “business” and you’ll quickly realise that the photographers out there feel the banks and finance firms are run solely by men. Women only work in creative fields such as marketing and media Mac-tastic hipsters with colour charts and shit.

Women in STEM do not exist.

There are no scientists, engineers, car dealers or indeed retailer businesswomen in stock image land.  This isn’t business you understand.

Women in business have a hair and makeup team

Fabulous hair, great makeup, perfect teeth and skin…women in business are to look model-perfect at their desks, even when holding babies as they type (yup, that old clichéd image still pops up when searching for ‘working mum’). The idea that a woman has time to give herself a facial and a blowout before her 8:00AM meeting (or that she cares to) is just one of many ways the image of the woman in-and out-of the office is twisted online.

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